Trump unloads from White House lawn

President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE tweeted on Friday that “Fox & Friends” was broadcasting from the front lawn of the White House, teasing a possible visit.

Minutes later, Trump was standing side-by-side with Fox host Steve Doocy unloading on former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThe FBI should turn off the FARA faucet Barr threatened to resign over Trump attempts to fire Wray: report 'Fox News Sunday' to mark 25 years on air MORE, Democrats and the Russia probe in an unusual setting: the North Lawn of the White House.


After ending the Fox interview, Trump conceded to a shorter, more hostile series of questions from other reporters — one of whom he described as obnoxious.

In the course of the two interviews, Trump offered a series of claims, several of them misleading and designed to undermine special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

He said the Justice Department’s inspector general (IG) report had cleared his name, even though that was not one of its conclusions or purposes.

“I think that the report yesterday, maybe more importantly than anything, it totally exonerates me,” Trump told the group of reporters in the second interview.

The IG report focused on the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe curious case of the COVID-19 origin Harris headlining Asian American Democratic PAC's summit Congress won't end the wars, so states must MORE and did not touch upon the origins of Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference.

Trump offered a a selective reading of the IG report, which criticized the FBI and Comey’s conduct during the Clinton probe but found no evidence their decisions were tainted by political bias in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential race.

Trump accused the FBI of having “total bias” toward him and “plotting against my election,” statements that continued the White House’s efforts to politically tar the underpinnings of Mueller’s probe, which began after Trump’s firing of Comey.

Trump chose to criticize the part of the report that said the FBI’s actions were not affected by political bias.

“I say that the IG blew it at the very end with that statement,” he said. “The IG report was a horror show. I thought that one sentence of conclusion was ridiculous."

Trump, perhaps in a good mood after the release of the IG report and his historic summit this week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, then moved on to other topics.

On immigration, Trump blamed Democrats for the separation of children from their parents at the border, even though it is his own administration’s policy to split up the families when people are apprehended making illegal crossings.

“I hate it,” Trump said. “That’s the Democrat’s law and we can change it tonight. We can change it right now.” 

The separations are the result of a May 7 announcement by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOne quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors Biden fills immigration court with Trump hires Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE of a “zero-tolerance policy” for people who cross the southern border, not a specific law passed by Democrats. 

Under the zero-tolerance policy, people apprehended illegally crossing the border face criminal prosecution, which results in children being taken away from their parents to be placed in shelters.

Trump also said Friday that he would not sign a compromise immigration bill drafted by House Republicans that would end the family separation policy. The president said the bill does not contain strong enough border security provisions. 

Trump's remarks appeared to spell doom for the House bill, as conservatives quickly said it would not have the votes to be approved.

Members of both parties have criticized the zero-tolerance policy, and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBiden's relationship with top House Republican is frosty The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Budowsky: Liz Cheney vs. conservatives in name only MORE (R-Wis.) voiced support for changing it on Thursday. House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate House extends proxy voting to July On The Money: IRS to start monthly payments of child tax credit July 15 | One-fourth of Americans took financial hits in 2020: Fed MORE (D-Calif.) said she did not believe the GOP-controlled Congress could find the votes to pass an immigration bill and said Trump could end the policy on his own if he chose to do so.

Trump, who was making his first appearance before cameras since his return from the summit with Kim, sought to explain his lavish praise for the brutal North Korean leader. In public comments, Trump has called Kim a “strong” and “funny” guy while downplaying his human-rights abuses. 

“You know why? Because I don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family, OK?” Trump told a reporter who asked why he has defended Kim. 

Trump provided even more fodder for reporters during his Fox interview when he said he wants people to sit at attention like they do for the North Korean leader. 

“Hey, he is the head of a country, and I mean he is the strong head,” Trump said. “Don't let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

Pressed by a reporter about that comment, Trump responded: “I'm kidding, you don't understand sarcasm.”

Trump boasted about his summit with Kim, claiming that he “solved” the problem of North Korea’s nuclear weapons even though he left the summit without an ironclad nuclear deal. 

Trump and Kim signed a joint statement that included a commitment from the North Koreans to “work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” without spelling out how or when it will happen. North Korea has made such pledges in the past, only to violate them. 

The president also made more news on the home front, telling reporters that his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen “is not my lawyer anymore.”

“I haven't spoken to Michael in a long time,” Trump said, while noting he feels bad for him.  

Cohen is under federal criminal investigation for his business practices, including hush-money payments to women who claim to have had affairs with Trump. 

Cohen is reportedly parting ways with his legal team, which has sparked rumors he could cooperate with investigators against the president.